Meeting of American Members, Bilderberg Steering Committee (8 January 1959)
Meeting of American Members, Bilderberg Steering Committee
Lunch Club, New York
8 January 1959
Present: Messrs. A. H. Dean, H. J. Heinz, C. D. Jackson, George Nebolsine, G. W. Ball, J. B. Johnson
Also Present: Messrs. Myron Black and John Myerson of the Office of European Regional Affairs, Department of State
I. U.S. Position on Discussion of Common Market – Free Trade Area Issue
1. Messrs. Black and Myerson joined the group as a result of a request made of Assistant Secretary Mann. They gave an extensive briefing on the views of the U.S Government in relation to the Common Market – Free Trade Area problem, stressing the delicacy of the issues from the U.S. point of view.
2. It was agreed by the Bilderbergers present that it would be inadvisable to invite any U.S. Government official to the meeting to be held 17-19 January at the Bilderberg Hotel. Mr. Dean accordingly undertook to cable or write Ambassador Zellerbach to this effect.
3. It was further agreed that because of the delicate nature of this problem, even for private American citizens, the U.S. group should endeavor to work out the main of an agreed position. After the meeting, Messrs. Heinz, Ball and Johnson, with the assistance of Messrs. Black and Myerson, roughed out some of the points to be included on the views to be expressed by the American participants. Mr. Ball is to work over the points and submit a draft to the Americans when we gather at Bilderberg.
4. It was also agreed that, except for Mr. Shepard Stone, who would not be expected to talk about the Common Market – Free Trade Area problem, no one, other than members of the Steering Committee, should be invited to attend. The members who plan to go are Messrs. Dean, Heinz, Ball, Ferguson, Nebolsine, and Johnson. Mr. Johnson handed the Prince’s formal invitations to Messrs. Dean, Heinz, Ball and Nebolsine, together with copies of the “Notice of the Meeting.” He also handed all those present copies of the list dated 30 December of the Europeans who have been invited to the meeting.
5. Mr. Dean agreed that he would make some remarks in the opening session about developments since Buxton. Mr. Johnson stated that van Kleffens and Quaroni plan to introduce this discussion.
II. Further Meetings During 1959
1. There was consensus against holding as many meetings in 1959 as the Europeans apparently contemplate. In this connection it was pointed out that the American Group had even suggested to Prince Bernhard at an earlier time that the Bilderberg Group might be put in mothballs during this year, and it was stated without contradiction that in any case we we certainly should oppose the holding of expanded Steering Committee meetings every three months or so. The consensus was definitely against an expanded Steering Committee meeting in June.
2. A meeting March 21-22 on Berlin: Disappointment was generally expressed that the Europeans did not accept the American suggestion of discussing Berlin in January, and the view was further expressed that March is a difficult month for a meeting. The general feeling was that, given the great importance of Berlin, we should, nevertheless, probably be prepared to send a team of about six people to that meeting: three members of the Steering Committee plus three experts of the caliber of Conant, McCloy, etc.
3. In this connection, Mr. Johnson said that he believed we would have the funds necessary to participate on that scale in such a meeting.
III. Conference, September 18-20
1. Mr. Johnson reported that at its meeting in Milan in December the Steering Committee had decided to hold a full-scale conference on 18-20 September at a place as yet unspecified. That led to a discussion of the U.S. position on the Turkish invitation to hold such a meeting in or near Istanbul.
2. It was pointed out that American participation in the conference must remain uncertain until the financial picture is clear. In this connection, it was stated that it is unlikely that the Rockefeller Foundation will contribute support of the Group for another year, and when the question was raised whether the Ford Foundation might be willing to give support once again, no one knew the answer.
3. With respect to the locale, there was general feeling that for various reasons, including the additional cost, it would be preferable not to meet in Turkey. In this connection, the strong views expressed on the other side at an earlier time by George McGhee and John Ferguson were recorded. It was hoped that the Prince could find some way of dealing with this question without again arousing Turkish susceptibilities, but there was no clear decision as to the position the American Group should take if he could not.
1. There was a brief discussion of the financial status of the Group. Mr. Johnson handed out copies of a financial statement as of 31 December showing that there was a balance on hand of over $11,000. He also said that we are authorized to use the balance of the Rockefeller Foundation funds in connection with the January to 31 March. (It is not entirely clear whether this terminal date would permit the use of Rockefeller funds for expenses in attending a meeting in March, although it appears that this may be negotiated.)
Joseph E. Johnson
Honorary Secretary, American Group